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The Adulteress

“What do you have for me, today, Saul?” Joseph greets the ambitious Saul.

Joseph has been listening to a man speaking in the temple. This Galilean has had the interest of many including the Pharisees, of which group Joseph and Saul are members. At times, the Galilean has been at odds with the Pharisees which isn’t all that different from many zealots. But this one has some of the people believing him to be the Prophet or even the Messiah himself.

“We have in our custody a woman guilty of sleeping with a man who is not her husband,” Saul whispers.

“What is unusual about that?”

Saul nods his head towards the Galilean speaker, “We thought we would ask the Galilean what he thought we should do with her.”

Joseph scowls at first but then a sly grin forms, “I’m curious myself.”

Saul departs momentarily but soon returns with a few other Pharisees and teachers of the law. In their midst, pulled along by a couple of younger Pharisees, a young woman shuffles in with head bowed and resting on her chin. She stands in her shame before the whole crowd who gathered to hear the Galilean teach.

The Galilean notices tears in her eyes. He also recognizes the anger in some of the men’s eyes and a smugness on the face of others.

“Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?”

The Galilean bends down and writes upon the ground,”Honor your mother and your father. Do not desire your neighbor’s possessions. Do not slander your neighbor. You should not commit adultery.

The group of religious leaders after reading what the Galilean wrote, look around at each other but no one speaks.

“Yes, Teacher, this is the Law,” Saul points to the words on the ground. “How should she be punished.”

Joseph adds, “Are you saying she should die?”

“Let the one who is without sin cast the first stone,” the Galilean replies.

The small group of lawmakers and Pharisees are forced to consider the ramifications of their actions. If they are the first, they will be seen as arrogant and dishonest. They will lose the public’s respect.

The Galilean rabbi stoops down again and writes this portion of the law concerning adultery, “…both the man who slept with her and the woman must die.”

Joseph grinds his teeth together as he clutches the stone in his hand so tight that you would think he is trying to grind it into powder. He glares at the young Saul tossing the blame for this humiliation at Saul.

Saul understands the implications flung at him by the hypocritical, haughty older man. His ire rises to where he almost fires his stone at Joseph’s head.

Joseph allows his stone to quietly tumble to the ground. Another of the more experienced Pharisees follows suit. The two men leave the temple courtyard together. As they depart, they hear thud after thud of rock beat against the ground.

Saul is the last to finally accept defeat. His intent to expose this Galilean Nazarene as a fraud and a fool has backfired. As Saul drops his stone, he becomes more determined to ruin this false prophet.

The Galilean stands and offers his hand to help the kneeling woman to her feet. Her head still bowed in shame and in anticipation of the first strike of cold hard rock does not realize the Galilean’s hand.

“Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”

Slowly and carefully, the woman raises her head and lowers her arm away from her head.

She dares to look around, her eyes declaring a touch of bewilderment, “None sir.”

“Then neither do I. Go and leave your life of sin,” the Galilean says as he helps her to her feet.

Categories: Justice Short Story

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Douglas Knight

I write about what I'm thinking or what I've imagined in an effort to regain that childhood imagination and marry with my many years of real experiences. I'm getting better at it the more I write.I am a published author of two romantic intrigue novels.My books can be found at or if you want a personalized copy, by emailing me at

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